Climate Data
Yearly Reports
Interested in what kind of weather occurred in a recent year? Check out the most memorable events below.
 
Arkansas Yearly Climate Summary (2013)/Pg2
 

Hot and dry days in early September contributed to the worsening drought. On the 1st, the mercury topped out at 103 degrees in Russellville (Pope County). Monticello (Drew County) was not far behind with 102 degrees. De Queen (Sevier County), Fort Smith (Sebastian County), Pine Bluff (Jefferson County) and Texarkana (Miller County) all had maximums of 101 degrees. From the 7th through the 10th, afternoon readings were in the mid 90s to around 100 degrees, and several records were tied or broken.

 

High Temperatures (September 7-10, 2013)
Site 7th 8th 9th 10th
Fayetteville (NW AR) 95° 95° 95° 95°
Harrison (NC AR) 93° 95° 94° 94°
Jonesboro (NE AR) 95° 100° 99° 101°
Fort Smith (WC AR) 99° 99° 99° 98°
Little Rock (C AR) 99° 101° 100° 98°
West Memphis (EC AR) 94° 97° 95° 97°
Texarkana (SW AR) 99° 99° 98° 97°
El Dorado (SC AR) 98° 98° 98° 97°
Pine Bluff (SE AR) 99° 100° 100° 98°

 

But the heat during the summer of 2013 was nothing like recent years. It was the 86th warmest summer since 1895. The previous three summers were in the top 15 warmest. The summers of 2010 and 2011 made the top 5.

 

Summer Average Temperatures in Arkansas
Year Avg Temp Rank (Warmest)
2013 77.9° 86
2012 80.8° 12
2011 83.2° 3
2010 82.5° 4

 

Thirty six hour rainfall ending at 700 am CDT on 09/21/2013.
In the picture: Thirty six hour rainfall ending at 700 am CDT on 09/21/2013.
 

The drought did not last long. There was significant improvement by September 20th as moisture pooled around an incoming cold front. Much of southern Arkansas got two to four inches of rain, with locally over six inches. Some of these amounts exceeded what would normally be expected during the entire month. This was a drought buster for sure!

 

Forty Eight Hour Rainfall (through 700 am CDT on 09/21/2013)
Site Amount (Inches)
Texarkana (Miller Co) 6.68
Bluff City (Nevada Co) 6.05
Hope (Hempstead Co) 6.00
Prescott (Nevada Co) 5.67
Ashdown (Little River Co) 5.60
Stuttgart (Arkansas Co) 5.32
Sparkman (Dallas Co) 5.26
Marvell (Phillips Co) 5.10
Delight (Pike Co) 4.59
Arkadelphia (Clark Co) 4.52
Rohwer (Desha Co) 4.42
Fordyce (Dallas Co) 4.27
Leola (Grant Co) 4.27
Pine Bluff (Jefferson Co) 4.26
Sheridan (Grant Co) 4.13
Kelso (Desha Co) 3.83

 

Drought conditions were widespread in the western United States as of 09/10/2013.
In the picture: Drought conditions were widespread in the western United States as of 09/10/2013.
 

Outside of Arkansas, drought was a huge issue in the western United States during the summer, with numerous forest fires resulting. In Colorado, the Black Forest fire near Colorado Springs became the most destructive fire in state history. The fire consumed at least 509 homes as of June 20th.

 

Other heat/fire related stories for late June, 2013...

 
* An elite group (Hotshots) of 19 firefighters was killed near Yarnell, AZ (85 miles northwest of Phoenix, AZ). At least half of the homes in town were burned down.
* It was 117 degrees in Las Vegas, NV on June 30th. This tied the all-time record high locally.
* On June 29th, the high at Phoenix, AZ was 119 degrees. This was the fourth hottest temperature on record locally.
* This country's all-time June record high was tied on the 30th at Death Valley, CA. The mercury reached 129 degrees.
 

By August, huge fires raged in the west. The largest of these was the Rim fire in northern California (the Sierra Nevada Mountains). It became the most expansive fire (250,000+ acres) nationwide in 2013, and a top 5 largest wildfire in state history dating back to 1932. More than 5,000 firefighters battled the flames that spread into Yosemite National Park. The Beaver Creek fire in southern Idaho was triggered by lightning on August 9th. Almost 100,000 acres were torched by the 17th.

Meanwhile, it was very different story in parts of the east. Way too much rain fell in places like Asheville, NC, Atlanta, GA, Chattanooga, TN and Spartanburg, SC. There was a 15 to more than 25 inch rainfall surplus for the year at these locations through early September. Soggy fields led to rotting crops, with an agricultural disaster unfolding.

 

The Big Thompson River at Drake, CO had a record crest of 10.55 feet early on 09/13/2013.
In the picture: The Big Thompson River at Drake, CO had a record crest of 10.55 feet early on 09/13/2013. This crest surpassed the previous record of 9.31 feet established during the historic Big Thompson Flood of 07/31/1976.
 

Speaking of rain, there was a lot of it in Boulder, CO on September 12th. An astonishing 9.08 inches of water collected in the rain bucket, which shattered the previous daily record of 4.80 inches set on July 31, 1919. Flooding devastated the local area and on northward toward Estes Park, CO. The Big Thompson River swelled, with a 10.55 foot crest at Drake, CO early on the 13th. This surpassed the 9.31 foot level established during an historic flood event on July 31, 1976. On that day, 143 people perished as a 20 foot wall of water tore through the Big Thompson Canyon.

 

Relative humidity levels were well below normal (more than 20 percent) at 500 mb (18,000 feet) in the tropical Atlantic Ocean from 08/01/2013 through 09/27/2013.
In the picture: Relative humidity levels were well below normal (more than 20 percent) at 500 mb (18,000 feet) in the tropical Atlantic Ocean from 08/01/2013 through 09/27/2013.
 

In the tropics, it was fairly quiet across the Atlantic Ocean. Ths was surprising given favorable conditions for growing hurricanes such as warm sea surface temperatures (to energize developing systems) and no El Niño (which usually creates shear aloft to destroy developing systems). By November 30th, there were only two hurricanes (Humberto and Ingrid), and both of these were minimal (Category 1). Much drier than normal air was one of the factors keeping storms under control. 

By the way, there had not been a major landfalling hurricane (Category 3 or higher) in the United States for 2,959 days, or since Wilma on October 24, 2005. This is the longest major hurricane drought in this country since 1900.     

 

Storm reports through 800 pm CST on 11/17/2013.
In November, temperatures soared into the 70s and 80s locally on the 17th. At Little Rock (Pulaski County), it made it to 84 degrees. It had never been this warm so late in the year. The last time it was this warm in November was the 11th in 1989. Quite often, record warmth in the fall or winter precedes a round of severe weather. While there was an outbreak of severe storms, it did not happen here.
In the picture: Storm reports through 800 pm CST on 11/17/2013. The graphic is courtesy of the Storm Prediction Center.

 

From Illinois to Ohio, there were dozens of tornadoes reported, extensive damage, hundreds of thousands of people left without power and at least six fatalities. One of the strongest tornadoes (rated EF4) cut through Washington, IL (just east of Peoria, IL). Neighborhoods were leveled there. A state of emergency was declared in Kokomo, IN after a tornado came and went. And a National Football League game in Chicago, IL was delayed for almost two hours due to the storms.

 

 

Back at home, Arkansas got a taste of winter on December 5th and 6th. There was a blast of arctic air and plenty of moisture available to create a wintry mix of precipitation.
In the pictures: A cold front slowly worked toward the Gulf Coast, with sharply colder air and wintry precipitation spreading into Arkansas from the north in the twenty four hour period ending at 1200 pm CST on 12/06/2013.

 

Snow and sleet accumulations were impressive across the northern/western counties. Calico Rock (Izard County) was buried under a foot of pellets and powder, with 11 inches at Marshall (Searcy County), 10 inches at Oakland (Marion County) and Salem (Fulton County), and 9 inches at Harrison (Boone County) and Jasper (Newton County). At least an inch of sleet was measured as far south as the Little Rock (Pulaski County) area.

There was significant ice in the Ouachita Mountains and parts of the Arkansas River valley in western sections of the state. Accruals over half an inch were reported. This includes Fort Smith (Sebastian County), Mena (Polk County), Mount Ida (Montgomery County) and Russellville (Pope County).

 

 

Winter, flood, and severe headlines (watches, warnings and advisories) were posted across the middle of the country as of 1001 am CST on 12/21/2013.
As December 25th approached, some wondered if it would be a white Christmas. It was not to be, with a snow and ice storm just to the north and west on the 20th/21st. It was more like spring in Arkansas, with a bout of heavy rain and severe weather. The southeast half of the state got the brunt of the storm, with over five inches of rain in places and at least three tornadoes. There was one tornado related fatality near Hughes (St. Francis County). 
In the picture: Winter, flood, and severe headlines (watches, warnings and advisories) were posted across the middle of the country as of 1001 am CST on 12/21/2013.

 


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